Our Mission

Our mission is to protect and restore the health of Northwest Straits’ marine resources by promoting and implementing science-based restoration and stewardship, enhancing collaboration, and attracting resources for the work of the Northwest Straits Initiative.

Since being founded in 2002, we’ve invested millions of dollars of private and corporate contributions in education, protection, and conservation across the seven-county region of the Northwest Straits.

Our Team

Don Hunger

Don Hunger

Executive Director

Don brings a national career in collaborative conservation and natural resource management to the Northwest Straits Foundation. Read more...

Don’s career includes national leadership in public lands management and natural resource policy with USFS, NPS, FWS, BLM, NGOs and states. He served as SCA’s Alaska regional director establishing its state office, and strategic alliances supporting programs in fisheries, forestry and recreation resources.

Areas of his specialized work include trails and recreation resource management, community protection in wildland fire, invasive species mitigation, Wild and Scenic rivers management, and  Wilderness science and stewardship.

Don served as wilderness social scientist and planner with the USDA Forest Service; founder and board chair of the Society of Wilderness Stewardship; member of the Western Governors Association Forest Health Advisory Committee; and member of the Public Lands Service Coalition.

Don has a MES in wilderness management and BA in environmental journalism.

Lisa Kaufman

Lisa Kaufman

Nearshore Program Manager

I manage shoreline restoration projects on behalf of the Foundation and MRCs, and I was formerly the Restoration Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Read more...

I’ve worked on restoration projects around the region and was key to successful implementation of the Northwest Straits Initiative’s creosote debris removal program and an important partner on many nearshore projects.

Jason Morgan

Jason Morgan

Marine Projects Manager

I manage the Derelict Fishing Gear Program and Shoreline Restoration Monitoring. Read more...

Prior to joining the Foundation, I worked for six years in commercial fisheries management, this helped me gain extensive field experience in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program, and was a key component to the successful start of the IFQ Catch Monitor Program. In addition to a busy professional life, I’m an active volunteer devoting time to community outreach and environmental stewardship programs.

Brooke Friesen

Brooke Friesen

Administrative Coordinator

Protecting the Salish Sea has been high on my radar since moving to Washington to sea kayak guide in the San Juan islands. Read more...

Experiencing this beautiful state by climbing, back country skiing, kayaking, and hiking has only grown my love for it. By helping Northwest Straits Foundation with the day-to-day tasks, I hope to protect the area and its inhabitants so the future can see the beauty I am blessed to see everyday.

 

Haley Sherman

Haley Sherman

Marine Restoration Fellow

My passion for restoration work stems from my extreme appreciation for wildlife. Read more...

I have always been a frequent backpacker as well as an avid recreational fisherman, therefore, I have spent much of my time observing wildlife habitat and how drastically it has changed in such a short period of time. 

My observations caused me to develop a tremendous amount of empathy for these species and ultimately drew me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Western Washington University.

My time spent procuring this degree supplied me with the knowledge I need to pursue a career in restoration, and my position as a Marine Fellow with the Northwest Straits Foundation will provide me with the opportunity to turn this knowledge into experience. I hope that by taking part in restoring our shorelines and monitoring fish activity in the Pacific Northwest region I can help repair the complex marine ecosystem which our wildlife so desperately rely on.

 

Kate Chandler

Kate Chandler

Nearshore Program Fellow

I'm Kate Chandler, an environmental policy major at WWU. I grew up in Monterey, California where I developed a strong interest in ecology, biology, and conservation. Read more...

This internship is an incredible opportunity to apply my studies to real-world situations. Working with the Shore Friendly program has been really interesting because it requires an understanding of private interest, political influences, and ecological processes. I’ve enjoyed learning how to work with private property owners to find mutually beneficial land management strategies. 

I am also planning on attending a postgraduate program to get certified as a scientific illustrator. While working for the foundation I would like to put this skill to use and create some infographics explaining some of the natural processes we work with (native vegetation stabilizing soil, forage fish spawning, and the movement of sediment on the coast). This could help landowners understand how their property ties into larger ecological systems. These illustrations would be helpful to have in my portfolio when applying to my postgraduate program. 

Margeaux Bailey

Margeaux Bailey

Rain Garden Fellow

I'm Margeaux Bailey, a senior studying environmental science at Western Washington University. Read more...

I am thrilled to be a part of the Northwest Straits Foundation this year and am looking forward to our upcoming conservation work. I have been a commercial fisherwoman in Alaska for the past four years where I have developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the ocean. 

My environmental education and experiences on the ocean have contributed greatly to my desire to work with the Northwest Straits Foundation. I am excited to share my passion and knowledge for protecting our aquatic ecosystems and supporting the community members that rely on them.

Our Board

Jerry Masters

Jerry Masters

President

Jerry Masters is general manager for Valley Supply, a regional building supply company, and has represented economic interests... Read more

on the Snohomish MRC, including serving two terms as chair of the committee. Jerry is past chair of the Northwest Straits Commission and also serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission. Jerry is excited by the Initiative’s ability to accomplish work through voluntary actions and its sense that responsibility for environmental outcomes should be shared by all.

Nan McKay

Nan McKay

Vice President

Nan McKay serves as Governor's appointee to the Northwest Straits Commission and was a former chair. Read more

She lives in Seattle where she is a Senior Advisor for 501 Commons Service Corps–orienting and supporting volunteers who help build the capacity of nonprofits throughout Washington State. She had her own consulting practice and has worked with nonprofits, foundations and local governments.  Nan previously managed the Environmental Sustainability Program for The Russell Family Foundation.  From 1985 to 2002, she served three Washington Governors, first as deputy director and executive director of the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority and later as chair of the Puget Sound Action Team. Prior to that, Nan worked as Energy Project Coordinator for the Washington State associations of cities and counties. She also worked for the League of Oregon Cities on issues ranging from land use and growth management to energy policy and election law.  Nan has served on a variety of public and nonprofit boards.  She was a founding member of the Association of National Estuary Programs and is a past president of the Environmental Education Association of Washington.  She currently chairs the board of the Sustainable Path Foundation and serves on the boards of North Cascades Institute and Western River Conservancy.  She is also a member of advisory boards to Curriculum for the Bioregion, the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, and the Salish Sea Institute.

Lee Whitford

Lee Whitford

Treasurer

I am a retired environmental educator and now a full-time volunteer. Read more...
I am the chair of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary advisory council and serve on the board of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
 
 
While raising my children I earned my BS in Geology and my MEd in Science Education.  I am an amateur mycologist, grandmother, and live in Port Townsend. My other passions are food preservation, gardening and walking the many beaches of the Olympic Peninsula.

Emily Schaller

Emily Schaller

Secretary

Emily developed a passion for the ocean finding sea stars along the Oregon coast and is now lucky enough to spend time in the beautiful Salish Sea. Read more...

After earning a BS in Marine Biology, Emily moved to San Juan Island to pursue her dream of working with orcas and fell in love with island life. Working in marine tourism for almost a decade, Emily has had the opportunity to see the effects of ecosystem health on communities and had the opportunity to be a part of meetings and rulings regarding marine wildlife and regulations. Emily brings knowledge of the marine tourism industry and marine biology to the board and is excited to work with Northwest Straits Foundation to protect the ecosystem she has come to call home.

Betsy Lyons

Betsy Lyons

Board Member

Betsy Lyons has over 17 years of experience working collaboratively on scientific research, policy and conservation efforts in the Pacific Northwest... Read more

She has worked on a broad range of issues including forest canopy research, rare plant conservation, natural area stewardship, native oyster restoration, water quality, shoreline and estuary restoration and climate change. Her interest is in bring together people, funding, technical resources and sound science to make informed decisions and strategic investments in Puget Sound. She believes healthy, functioning habitats are key to supporting vibrant and sustainable local communities. She values the Northwest Straits Foundation’s commitment to informed policy through sound science, citizen engagement, public-private partnerships, and voluntary conservation. Betsy was an integral member of the Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Program which created the state’s nearshore ecosystem restoration strategy for Puget Sound. She helped create and manage the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program which provides funding and technical assistance for high quality nearshore restoration, protection and monitoring in Puget Sound. She has a BS in Botany from the University of Washington and a Master of Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College. She currently lives and works in the Seattle area.

Simon Geerlofs

Simon Geerlofs

Board Member

Simon has lived, worked, and played on Puget Sound for most of his life... Read more

(aside from two separate stints in Washington DC, where he worked for Senator Maria Cantwell and the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Program). He served on the Snohomish County MRC from 2010-2016, as vice chair for during the last three of those years. Before that, Simon was the Marine Programs Manager for the NWS Commission. These days, Simon stays busy as a Program Manager for Pacific NW National Laboratory’s Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim. He splits his time between the Laboratory and running a small film production studio, Transect Films, with his wife, Faith. Simon, Faith, and their five-year-old daughter, Hala recently moved to Bellingham.

Duane Fagergren

Duane Fagergren

Board Member

Duane and his family, wife, Jonnel and daughter Evie, own and operate a small shellfish farm in South Puget Sound in Totten Inlet.... Read more

Calm Cove Oyster Company began operation in 1946. Currently, Duane volunteers on
a couple other boards such as the Pacific Shellfish Institute, and the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers
Association.

Duane served in various roles as staff to the Puget Sound Water Quality Authority ( then Action Team,
and PS Partnership) from 1991 to 2014. As Deputy Director, he proudly became associated with the
NWSI, and was a former member of the Northwest Straits Commission serving from its inception until 2014 when he retired.

Duane has a passion and interest in observing and photo-document the natural world. Over the past 70+ years, he has overlooked the shores of Totten Inlet, noting changes and behaviors of birds, mammals, fish and other marine life, and is proud to have instilled that interest in his daughters, Evie and Anna.

As long as mind and body allow him to stay active doing important conservation and restoration work,
with fun and dedicated staff and fellow board members of the NWSF, he is honored to remain engaged.

Emeritus Board Members

Thank you to our Emeritus Board Members for their exemplary service to the Northwest Straits Foundation. We appreciate their ongoing support as advisors and non-voting members.

Anne Murphy

Anne Murphy

Emeritus Board Member

Jay Lind

Jay Lind

Emeritus Board Member

Partners

We work in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and
the Marine Resources Committees to support restoration and education projects across the region.

Learn more about our partners: Northwest Straits Commission and Marine Resources Committees

Contact

Northwest Straits Foundation
1155 N State St Ste 400
Bellingham WA 98225
(360) 733-1725
info@nwstraitsfoundation.org